Today I’m mourning and celebrating. My daughter got her driver’s license. Although it is an exciting time for her, I find myself experiencing mixed emotions. I am mourning the loss of our mother/daughter time in the car. She and I have spent hours upon hours together these last few years traveling from place to place talking about school, friends, God… just life, in general. I’m talking about hundreds of precious, meaningful, silly, ordinary, amazing, eye-opening hours… alone with my daughter in the car. You see, my daughter is the last of our children at home. Her brothers didn’t have that kind of time alone in the car with me because there were always little siblings along. It has been such a blessing to have that special time with my daughter.
But along with the mourning, I am celebrating, because she has reached an important milestone of young adulthood and is ready for the independence and responsibility of driving by herself. This means I will spend even more time on my knees now, praying for protection and focus for her as she grows into this new set of driving wings. (or is it wheels?)
There have been other times in my parenting journey where I have found myself simultaneously mourning and celebrating. For example, when each of my boys headed off to college. I was so excited for them, knowing all of the new adventures they would have, the growth they would experience, and the new friends they would make, but, I did mourn the loss of them as a regular part of our family’s day to day life. Change can be tough.
And when my oldest son got married, I both mourned and celebrated, saddened by the fact that our own nuclear family would never be the same and that there was a “new chick in town” to whom he would now owe his allegiance. But, so excited and happy for him to come to know the joy and completeness of marriage and the anticipation of parenthood. I also celebrated the blessing of gaining a new daughter-in-law ( a wonderful God’s girl and the perfect partner for my crazy son), and I celebrated the possibility of becoming a grandma sometime in the near future!
Some have described parenting as a roller-coaster ride. That may be true. There are a lot of ups and downs and a lot of heart-wrenching moments, as well. Moments when you feel like crying and cheering all at the same time…mourning and celebrating. It’s a part of life as a parent. Just remember not to mourn too long, and to celebrate with gusto those transition moments with your child as they are moving into young adulthood! As a matter of fact, pat yourself on the back for a job well done!